BPF Response to Government Announcement on Net Zero and Consistent Collections

Seeing the government rolling back some of its environmental policies is disappointing. The British Plastics Federation (BPF) has been calling for consistent collections for recycling for many years to make things easier for people to understand and so that recycling infrastructure across the UK can be optimised.

It was concerning to hear that the proposal was seemingly being scrapped during the Prime Minister’s speech on 20 September, although we are encouraged by the fact that Defra has since clarified that what is now called ‘simpler recycling’ is still an objective. It remains important that flexible plastic packaging and films are collected when the proposals come to fruition.

There is concern that if comingled collections are to occur, as DEFRA has implied, it will have an adverse effect on the quality of material plastic recyclers receive. Currently, the capacity to adequately sort mixed material from across the nation does not exist, so it is highly important there is a significant investment in UK sorting infrastructure and that state-of-the-art facilities are built, capable of providing the best quality material.

Mixed messages are being sent to investors as well as the industry, making it hard for businesses to plan and hard for investors to commit to what are necessarily long-term investments. This is equally true regarding the watering down of the government’s net zero policies. Many businesses have already poured significant resources into reducing their carbon impact. Businesses should be commended for these actions, which have put long-term sustainability centre stage.

The UK can and should be a leading nation in achieving net zero. But after yesterday’s announcement, a big question mark remains for companies already committed to minimising the environmental impact of their operations. A long-term industrial strategy is clearly needed to replace confusion with certainty.

Read more from the BPF here.

Subscribe to our newsletter